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A Is For Anne based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
The winner of the 2008 Oregon Book Award, "A is for Anne" continually educated this reader about Anne Hutchinson, a traditional religious partisan in early Boston who embraced Puritan thought with fervent intellectualism and critiqued the male-dominated church hierarchy with her sharp tongue. The book made me ache for what people could really do with their passions if society wasn't so garnered by control and categorization. The poems are written with a simple, plain grace, the words left to stand as they are without a lot of poetic niceties or rhythm that could otherwise distract from Hutchinson's just cause and trying circumstances. They also flow through Hutchinson's life, not wanting to miss the high points of childhood, marriage, parenthood and the most stark quotes from her battles with the church hierarchy. The poems that feature her faithful, hard-working husband William are particularly touching. From "As runs the Glass / Man's life doth pass", written for the time when Anne was banished from Massachusetts to live in Rhode Island: G is for God Who never failed me.... ...Just as He closed the jaws of the lions, I shall not be consumed.... Though I walk among wild beasts of the forest, though I cross over rivers in full flood, yet God will bring me through unscathed. Let the false church of Massachusetts look to itself with fear. There is the just cause, however - which Hutchinson's certainly was - and fighting it justly. What the poems lack is self-reflection, an analysis, for example, of whether it's more important to prove somebody wrong, to outwit them, or to show more of an attitude of listening and greater kindness, something that brings people together so that they are more ready to accept differences. Maybe this information wasn't available to the author, or maybe the fact was that too many people perished in their efforts to reform the church, a church to this day that doesn't accept women or anyone openly gay within their leadership ranks, or question whether a hierarchy is necessary in the first place. I'm very sympathetic to the many oppressive societies in which the biggest victory is simply staying alive. I would have liked to have known what Anne learned about herself and her methods, however, because she did live and she was incredibly smart and courageous person. Stylistically, I would have liked to have seen a greater variety of poetic forms, some longer poems and a greater display of emboldened literature that honors the power of Anne Hutchinson's place in our history. This fine book of narrative poetry does get me started - down Hutchinson's road and many others. Anne's story and the way it's told here kept the pages turning.